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I had a silly idea for a group of gnomes to team up with a Goliath who shifts into a bear to serve as a battle platform for them to ride and attack with lances/shoot bows/cast from. Maybe mount a ballista or heavy crossbow on his back. You know, silly ideas.

But before I present this idea to my group/DM, I'm curious exactly how far this bends the rules: If a Goliath Druid wildshapes into a brown bear, does his racial Powerful Build trait carry over when he's shifted, so he'd count as a Huge creature for carry weight?

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Yes, the Powerful Build ability will work while Wild Shaped. Wild Shape allows you to use your racial features:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if your new form is physically capable of doing so.

And, just for completeness, Powerful Build:

You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

There's nothing there that would prevent it from working while Wild Shaped, so yep, you'd count as Huge when Wild Shaped into a Large creature.

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Yes, exactly!

Part of Wild Shape is the following term:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. [...]

So the carrying capacity would be calculated with the bears strength and size plus it counts as one size category larger for this.

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